Purdue vs. Texas Basketball Pick
Purdue Boilermakers (6-3 SU, 5-4 ATS) vs. Texas Longhorns (5-3 SU, 2-6 ATS)
When: Sunday, December 9, 2018 – 6 PM ET
Where: Frank Erwin Center, Austin, Texas
By: Dan Jamison, College Basketball Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: PUR -1.5/TEX +1.5 (Bovada)
Total: O/U 140
Last Time Out: Purdue edged Maryland 62-60; Texas lost to Virginia Commonwealth 54-53.
Analyzing the Boilermakers:
Carsen Edwards is as consistent as it gets for the Boilermakers, leading the team with 23.9 points per game and scoring almost at will regardless of who Purdue’s opponent is. Even Michigan, which has made just about every team it has played look clueless on offense, could only hold Edwards to 19 points in a game where Purdue only scored 57. Outside of Edwards and his backcourt mate Ryan Cline, the Boilers tend to wear teams down with their depth. Purdue likes to run a nine-man rotation, with the remaining seven tending to chip in a little bit here and there to supplement Edwards and Cline’s efforts. It’s worked more often than not, even though the Boilermakers have lost three of their past five contests.
Analyzing the Longhorns:
Just weeks ago, Texas seemed to be on track for a breakout season in Shaka Smart’s fourth year in Austin. Now the Longhorns have dropped three in a row after falling to Michigan State, Radford and VCU, which has even Smart questioning his squad. The main reason for Texas’ slide has been the disappearance of their best scorers’ shots. During their 5-0 start, Texas relied heavily on Kerwin Roach II and Dylan Osetkowski to produce their offense, but against Radford and VCU, the two shot a combined 10-for-44. That simply can’t continue if the Longhorns are going to get back to where Smart believes his team should be.
Purdue’s mentality. Where are the Boilermakers’ heads at after a brutal stretch of opponents? In the past three weeks, Purdue has lost to Virginia Tech on a neutral floor, lost by a point at Florida State, got routed at Michigan and escaped with a close win at home over Maryland. One of the most difficult things for a college basketball team to do is play several games against top-quality opposition in a short stretch of time, and the Boilers still have to play Notre Dame in Indianapolis before getting a break for the holidays. If Purdue isn’t mentally ready for this game, Texas has an opening.
Purdue Will Cover if:
The Boilermakers can force Texas’ third option to beat them. Radford and VCU have both shown that when Roach and Osetkowski aren’t getting the job done, the Longhorns don’t really have a solid Plan C. Purdue needs to focus its defense on the top two Texas scorers and make someone else provide the offense. That’s currently the blueprint on beating this Texas team, and I don’t see Matt Painter going away from what lesser teams than his Boilermakers have successfully accomplished.
Texas Will Cover if:
The Longhorns can force Edwards into mistakes. As great a player as Edwards is, he doesn’t always make the greatest decisions with the basketball. When Purdue has lost this year, the constant has been Edwards turning the ball over. In the Boilermakers’ six victories, Edwards has 16 turnovers, but he has turned the ball over 19 times in Purdue’s three losses. He’ll get his points, but if the Longhorns can force him into a few bad decisions, they’ll give themselves a chance.
Dan’s Basketbal Pick Against the Spread:
I hate picking against a home underdog, but I’ve got to go with Purdue here. The Boilermakers have lost three of their past five games, but their schedule has been simply brutal. The only team Purdue has played in the past three weeks that wasn’t ranked was Robert Morris, and Purdue won that game by 38. Put simply, the Boilers’ 6-3 mark is a very strong 6-3.
By contrast, Texas hasn’t looked the same since it beat North Carolina. Beating the Tar Heels was a great moment for the Longhorns, but they’ve followed it up with three lackluster performances and frittered away any positive momentum they had from their Las Vegas trip. The Longhorns still have yet to find their support for their two best players, and when both of them disappear, the results can get pretty ugly.
Taking Purdue certainly doesn’t come without risks, as the Boilers could easily be beaten down by the adversity that they’ve been through in the past three weeks and come out flat against the Longhorns. Plus, Texas is at home and its crowd should be fired up to see a name opponent such as Purdue.
But home court didn’t mean anything for Texas against Radford or VCU, and while both of those teams are quality squads for their level, Purdue is on a higher level than either of them. If the Longhorns are capable of losing to teams from the Big South and Atlantic 10 at home, they’re certainly capable of falling to a solid Big Ten squad, even if Purdue is beaten down by its gauntlet. I’ll eat the point and a half with the Boilers here.
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